Mary Van Dyke 65, of Elkhorn passed away Sunday, May 19, 2019 at Mercy Hospital in Janesville after a short battle with a heart infection. She was born August 21, 1953 in Erie, Illinois to Betty Thomas and Jim Conrad and later adopted by Marion and Warren Beach. She was raised in Elkhorn where she attended school, graduating with the Elkhorn Area High School class of 1971. She married Charles Van Dyke on April 6, 1973 in Elkhorn. She was a stay at home mom and provided in home daycare while she raised her 6 children. As her kids entered school full time, she went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Education from UW-Whitewater and her master’s degree in Social Work from UW-Milwaukee, all while being active in the community and being devoted to her family. In addition to her family, one of her proudest achievements was her 30 years of sobriety.
Mary had a passion for life that many strive for and few can accomplish. She put her heart and soul into everything she did and leaves behind a legacy of family, love, and compassion. She felt a deep connection to her long career in social work and adoption services and worked tirelessly as an advocate, protector and voice for the children of our communities.
During her professional career she has provided services in the social work field for many children and families. Her passion as an adoption social worker for Children’s Hospital brought her happiness as she helped create new families and find children their forever home. She also found joy in passing on her knowledge to the next generation of social workers while teaching classes at UW-Whitewater. In her ‘spare time’ she also worked as a weekend social worker at Rogers Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc.
Over many years Mary was extremely active in the Elkhorn community. She served as a co-director of the Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Elkhorn Area School Board, and an instructor for aerobic dance. However, the community work she found the most joy in was the NVD Shamrock Shuffle which is held annually in memory of her youngest son.
Although it may have seemed that Mary didn’t have minutes to give, her absolute favorite past time was attending anything her grandchildren did. You could spot Mary in the bleachers, on the sidelines, or in the audience of any event that involved her grandchildren. She loved them with all her heart. The bond she shared with them was unique and something anyone who knew her witnessed. They loved their Yaya!
She will forever be missed by her husband of 46 years, Charles. Her children Dan and Andrea VanDyke, Kyle and Mark Peterson, Erin and Clayton Erikson, Brooke and Jaime Lile, and Scott and Alicia VanDyke. Her grandchildren Jordan and Erik Van Dyke; Connor, Cailin, and Carson Peterson; Matthew and Charlie Erikson; Bryn, Kyrin, and Nicklyn Lile; Giselle, Evelyn, and Adeline Van Dyke. She is also survived by a host of many relatives including her special niece Rhonda Conrad Gaumer. She was preceded in death by her parents, her in-laws Harry and Henrika Van Dyke, and her son Nick Van Dyke.
Words cannot express how broken our family is to have lost our matriarch so suddenly. Her amazing strength stayed with her until the very end as she fought a hard battle. We are devastated but find comfort in knowing she is reunited after 8 years with the baby of our pack. She was an inspiration to everyone who knew her. We are confident that her wisdom and strength will continue to be spread through her children and grandchildren. She loved her family unconditionally and felt no greater joy in life than spending time with her thirteen grandchildren. Her family was the light of her life. She was so proud and supportive in every possible way. She was the rock of the family and her thoughtfulness, love, and presence will forever be missed.
Visitation will be 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM Thursday May 23, 2019 at the First United Methodist Church 111 N. Broad Street Elkhorn, WI. Memorial service will be 11:00 AM Friday at the church with Rev. Dr. Scott McLeod officiating. Online guestbook is at www.haaselockwoodfhs.com. Arrangements completed by Haase-Lockwood & Associates Funeral Homes Elkhorn, WI.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary A (Beach) VanDyke, please visit our floral store.